Thursday, February 2, 2023
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Google is giving Black founders millions in order to grow their businesses.

Miles Kelley
Rachel Palmer

Like most things across the world, technology is supposed to work for everyone. And also like most things, Black folk just don't seem to be getting a fair slice of that pie. In order for technology to work for everyone, it needs to be built by everyone. Currently less than 0.5 percent of venture capital (VC) funding goes to Black-led startups. And Black people make up less than 3 percent of the VC community,. Black founders disproportionately lack access to the networks and capital needed to grow their businesses.

Many companies have been looking to sew back into minority and Black business. Earlier this year we reported on Goldman Sachs and their “One Million Black Woman Initiative.” In addition, Uncle Nearest is looking to grow minority owned spirits brands. And now Google is getting into the mix as well. And they have tapped a Black woman to lead the charge.

Since 2016, Rachael Palmer has been overseeing Google’s partnership strategy with venture capitalists and startups throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Recent successes include the launch of a $2 million fund for Black founders in Europe, and a similar $3 million scheme in Africa. “My role focuses on driving partnerships with the region’s top VCs and startup but also working on initiatives to transform the ecosystem for the better,” Palmer told Insider.

She spends her days collaborating with EMEA’s major VC funds. She works to define Google’s VC strategy and help startups partner across Google’s product areas. Rachael is dedicated to creating an inclusive and representative workplace. She helps drive Google’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Doing so through participation in action committees that outline recruitment practices, and working on retention and internal community building efforts.

Rachael advises the Black Googler Network and is an active lead in advocating for increased fertility benefits through Google's Women's Network. She also leads Google’s diversity recruiting efforts at Wharton. Rachael has been a featured speaker at Google’s first EMEA “State of Black Women” Conference in the UK and the Wharton Women in Business Conference. In addition, she enjoys mentoring minority candidates in their business school applications.

Before she joined Google, she worked at Microsoft and American Express. She spent plenty of time working with small businesses at AmEx. As an internal consultant at Google, she “quickly found my back to working within the startup ecosystem.”

Google for Startups is also sponsoring The Black Report by 10×10 to begin to address the lack of data and empathy for the challenges Black founders face on their entrepreneurial journeys. The report looks at a sample of London-based early-stage Black founders to gain a better understanding of their companies, backgrounds and the challenges they face in the UK and European ecosystem.

Rachel sat down with Insider and shared her top five tips for businesses seeking to work with Google.

  1. Keep Google’s users in mind.
    For startup founders hoping to secure an investment from Google, Palmer’s main tip is to ensure you have something to offer the company’s users.
  2. Do your company values align with Google’s?
    For Palmer, it’s important for her to get to know what’s in “the DNA of a company.”
  3. Think seriously about diversity.
    Palmer said about picking venture capitalist business partners, “I obviously care deeply about their ability to pick winners but I also care about their perspective on diversity.”
  4. Think locally and globally.
    Palmer said she’s always been impressed by the go-to market strategies of EMEA-based startups.
  5. Expect competition.
    Large companies like Google have rival founders and interested venture capitalists in numbers. This year’s Black founder initiative is one example.

“If it’s a commercial partnership, we look for those that are mutually beneficial to both us and the startup.”

Racial disparity has an adverse effect on everyone. And these effects can no longer be ignored. If the effects continue to be ignored, the damaging effect will continue to ripple throughout the community. Such issues as housing disparities and physical and mental health outcomes. With limited government resources provided to address the root causes. Google has a chance to help build a more equitable future. A future where successful entrepreneurs come from all backgrounds, and their communities can benefit from the long-term job creation and generational wealth that they bring.

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  • […] have been several already large and established companies pledging to Black businesses as well. Google has pledged millions to Black founders to help grow their businesses. Goldman Sachs has begun their […]

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